2019 Emerging Leaders

GOPAC’s 2019 Class of Emerging Leaders is made up of promising legislators selected for their potential and ability to impact their state.

“We welcome being a part of the success that this year’s Class of Emerging Leaders will achieve. These men and women will contribute much to our mission to build a roster of Republicans ready to lead in their state legislatures and run for higher office,” said GOPAC Chairman David Avella.

The Emerging Leaders program is a year-long initiative to coach and develop state legislators from across the country on how to be effective legislative leaders.

This year’s class will begin their involvement at the 9th Annual Emerging Leaders Summit, which takes place from June 10th – 12th in Charleston, SC. The Summit gives participants the opportunity to learn from policy experts, veteran lawmakers, communications professionals, and seasoned political strategists as well as each other. These leaders return to their states better equipped to advance the ideas they are championing and prepare for the rigors of campaigning for higher office.

To be selected, an Emerging Leader must be nominated by a member of the organization’s Legislative Leaders Advisory Board or a legislative leader in their state.

Emerging Leaders Class of 2019:

Steve Livingston

Alabama Senator

Senator Livingston was first elected in 2014. His district covers DeKalb and Jackson Counties, and portions of Madison County, including Huntsville. He is the owner of The Fuel Center, Inc., a distributor of Chevron Gasoline and Lubricants. He is a member of the following committees: Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development (Chair), Rules, Finance and Taxation General Fund, Transportation and Energy, Banking and Insurance, Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and Madison County Legislation.

Tyler Pace

Arizona Senator

Senator Pace was first elected in 2018. His district covers Maricopa County (Mesa). He currently owns and operates several businesses including a pack and ship company, a medical supply company, and a mobile medical care company in Mesa. These employ more than 30 individuals. He is a member of the following committees: Commerce (Vice Chair), Education, and Health and Human Services.

Breanne Davis

Arkansas Senator

Senator Davis was first elected in 2018. Her district covers Russellville. She is the senior account executive for SAS Institute, a global analytics company. She was elected to the Russellville School Board of Education in 2009 at the age of 26. She served as President, Communications Liaison, and Legislative Liaison throughout her nine years on the board. She was recently named 2019 Arkansas Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc. She is a member of the following committees: JBC-Administrative Rule and Regulation Review Subcommittee (Vice Chair), Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs (Vice Chair), Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC), Joint Budget Committee, JBC-Peer Review, State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, Children and Youth Committee, and Senate Efficiency.

Heather Somers

Connecticut Senator

Senator Somers was first elected in 2016. Her district covers Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, and Voluntown. She is the Assistant Republican Leader and was the Lieutenant Governor Nominee in 2014. She is the former Mayor of Groton, Connecticut. She is a founding partner of Hydrofera, a medical device manufacturer that still employs nearly 100 people in Windham County. She is a member of the following committees: Public Health (Ranking Member), Commerce, Planning and Development, and Appropriations.

Larry Walker

Georgia Senator

Senator Walker was first elected in 2015. His district covers Bleckley, Houston, Laurens and Pulaski Counties. He is the Caucus Vice-Chairman and CEO of Walker Insurance Agency. He is a member of the following committees: Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Appropriations, Health and Human Services, Insurance and Labor, Rules, Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security, and Joint House and Senate Agriculture Education.

Victoria Spartz

Indiana Senator

Senator Spartz was first appointed in 2017. Her district covers portions of Hamilton County. She is a native of Ukraine. She earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the National University of Economics in Ukraine as well as a Master of Professional Accountancy from IU’s Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis. She is a businesswoman, farmer, CPA and adjunct faculty for IU’s Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis. She previously worked as the CFO of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. She is a member of the following committees: Education and Career Development, Environmental Affairs, and Pensions and Labor.

Dan Dawson

Iowa Senator

Senator Dawson was first elected in 2016. His district covers Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County. He has served for the last 20 years in the Army Reserves, where he earned his current rank of Chief Warrant Officer. He has mobilized four times with deployments to Kosovo, Iraq, and twice to Afghanistan. He is currently a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, where he works in the Major Crimes Unit. He has also served as a director in the state police union. He is a member of the following committees: Veterans Affairs (Chair), Judiciary (Vice Chair), Ways and Means (Vice Chair), Commerce, and State Government.

Curt VanderWall

Michigan Senator

Senator VanderWall was first elected in 2018. His district covers Benzie, Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, and Wexford Counties. He is the owner of Turf Care Mole Man and previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives. He is a member of the following committees: Health Policy and Human Services (Chair), Economic and Small Business Development, (Vice Chair), Judiciary and Public Safety (Vice Chair), Elections, Environmental Quality, Finance, and Regulatory Reform.

Mark Johnson

Minnesota Senator

Senator Johnson was first elected in 2016. His district covers Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau Counties. He has a degree in Finance and Economics from Bethel University and a J.D. from the University of North Dakota. He previously worked as a Financial Analyst for IBM. He is a partner with his father in Johnson Concrete Construction, a third-generation family business, and a partner in a small law firm. He is a member of the following committees: Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance (Vice Chair), Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy, Environment, and Natural Resources Finance, and Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy.

Sue Serino

New York Senator

Senator Serino was first elected in 2014. Her district covers parts of Hudson Valley, including Poughkeepsie. She owns a realtors office, Serino Realty, with over 20 sales associates. She was elected to the Hyde Park Town Board in 2010 and then to the Dutchess County Legislature in 2011. She is a member of the following committees: Aging (Ranking Member), Social Services (Ranking Member), Children and Families, Insurance, and Legislative Women’s Caucus.

Pete Flores

Texas Senator

Senator Flores was first elected in 2018. His district covers more than 400 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border and encompasses roughly 17 counties including parts of Bexar, Atascosa and Medina. He is the first Hispanic Republican in the Texas Senate and the first Republican elected to that seat since the Civil War. He spent most of his career as a Texas Game Warden, serving the State for 27 years and achieving the rank of Colonel – the first Hispanic Colonel in history. He is a member of the following committees: Criminal Justice, Finance, Health and Human Services, Higher Education, and Natural Resources and Economic Development.

Walter Blackman

Arizona Representative

Representative Blackman was first elected in 2018. His district covers parts of Coconino (Flagstaff), Gila, Yavapai (Prescott) and Navajo Counties. He is the first Black Republican elected to the Arizona House of Representatives. He served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and won several military awards including the Bronze Star Medal, for combat actions in Iraq, and the Meritorious Service Medal for honorable active duty service. After his retirement in 2016, he founded and is currently President and CEO of W.B. Inclusion and Diversity Consulting Victim Advocacy Firm, a counseling service provider for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment. He is nationally certified in sexual harassment and assault prevention and is a fixture at local events, speaking at Veterans Day events, local chambers of commerce and schools. He is a member of the following committees: Judiciary (Vice Chair), State and International Affairs (Vice Chair), and Government and Regulatory Affairs.

Bill Brough

California Assemblyman

Assemblyman Brough was first elected in 2014. His district covers South Orange County (Dana Point, Laguna Hills). He is an Army Veteran. He serves as Co-chair of the California Legislative Irish Caucus, which maintains a membership of approximately one-quarter of the California Legislative body as a bi-cameral, bi-partisan effort to celebrate shared cultural heritage and strong economic ties. He previously served as the White House Liaison at the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Bush Administration. The California Chamber of Commerce has ranked him at the top of their “Best Business Votes” each year since being elected. He operated a government affairs consulting firm from 2005-2014. He is a member of the following committees: Revenue and Taxation (Vice Chair), Business and Professions (Vice Chair), Appropriations, Budget, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Veterans Affairs.

JP Sredzinski

Connecticut Representative

Representative Sredzinski was first elected in 2014. His district covers Monroe, Sandy Hook, and Newtown. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Connecticut House Republican Campaign Committee. His full-time occupation is the Public Safety 9-1-1 Dispatch Supervisor for the Town of Stratford. In 2016, he was honored with the Emergency Medical Services Legislator of the Year Award. In both 2016 and 2017, he was also named the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association Legislator of the Year. He is a member of the following committees: Public Safety and Security (Ranking Member), Human Services, and Higher Education and Employment Advancement.

Jayer Williamson

Florida Representative

Representative Williamson was first elected in 2016. His district covers parts of Okaloosa and Santa Rosa. He owns and operates Williamson Electrical. He was honored as the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida’s 2017 and 2018 "Legislator of the Year,” Florida Farm Bureau’s 2018 "Champion for Agriculture," and Americans for Prosperity 2017 "Champion of Economic Freedom.” He is also a member of the Northwest Florida Home Builders Association and has previously served on its board. He is a member of the following committees: Appropriations and Joint Legislative Budget.

Martin Carbaugh

Indiana Representative

Representative Carbaugh was first elected in 2012. His district covers Northwest Fort Wayne. He is the Investment Advisor Representative at ProEquities, Inc., and agent at Heartland Insurance Partners, LLC. He has been an elected Precinct Committeeman in Allen County and is also a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the National Federation of Independent Business. He is a member of the following committees: Insurance (Chair), Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development, and Employment, Labor and Pensions.

Savannah Maddox

Kentucky Representative

Representative Maddox was first elected in 2018. Her district covers Grant County, and portions of Boone, Kenton, and Scott (Georgetown) Counties. She previously served as Chair of the Grant County Republican Party. She’s an NRA member. She attended Northern Kentucky University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in both International Relations and History. She serves on the Grant County Advisory Board. She is a member of the following committees: Economic Development and Workforce Investment, Transportation, and Judiciary.

Beth O'Connor

Maine Representative

Representative O’Connor was first elected in 2011 (served one term) and was elected to her current tenure in 2014. Her district covers the town of Berwick, and portions of North Berwick Counties. In addition to her work as a State Representative, O’Connor has a diverse background where she has worked in Finance, Real Estate as well as the restaurant business. She is also a member of Maine Taxpayers United and formerly served as Director of the SAD 60 School Board. She serves on the Health and Human Services Committee (Ranking Member.)

Matt Morgan

Maryland Delegate

Delegate Morgan was first elected in 2014. His district covers St. Mary’s County. He serves as the Assistant Minority Leader. He is also the lead Technical Specialist at the College of Southern Maryland and a realtor at O’Brien Realty. He’s an NRA Member and has been an avid auto racer all his life. He is a member of the following committees: Health and Government Operations.

Nick Bain

Mississippi Representative

Representative Bain was first elected in 2011. His district covers Alcorn County. He is an attorney and a founding partner of his law firm-Bain, Moss, and Bowen. He is a member of the Rotary Club, Mississippi Bar Association, Mississippi Municipal Association, and a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Corinth. He is a member of the following committees: Agriculture, Energy, Judiciary B, Judiciary En Banc, Public Health and Human Services, and Transportation.

Tom Roberts

Nevada Representative

Representative Roberts was first elected in 2018. His district covers Clark County (Las Vegas). He was a Police Officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department from August 1993 to January 2018. He served as a Law Enforcement Specialist in the United States Air Force and Police Officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He is the recipient of three Unit Medals of Valor, three Unit Exemplary Service Awards, and a Unit Community Service Award. He earned an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from the Community College of Air Force, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and a Master’s in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. He is a graduate of the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s Police Executive Leadership Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Leaders in State and Local Government. He is a member of the following committees: Judiciary, Growth and Infrastructure, Legislative Operations, and Deputy Minority Leader-South.

Kyle Hall

North Carolina Representative

Representative Hall was first appointed in 2015. His district covers Rockingham, Stokes, and Surry. He is a licensed real estate broker and Realtor at Janet G. Hall Realty, a small family-owned firm. Prior to serving in the legislature, he was the Communications Director for U.S. Congressman Mark Walker (NC-06). He is a member of the following committees: Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources Appropriations (Chairman), Information Technology Appropriations (Chairman), Appropriations (Vice Chair), Agriculture, Commerce, Environment, and Insurance.

Brandy Pyle

North Dakota Representative

Representative Pyle was first elected in 2016. Her district covers Cass County (Fargo). She is a graduate of the Rural Leadership North Dakota (RLND), a Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development Fellow, a Global Bridges Fellow, and a part of the Bush Foundation Learning Leaders cohort. She served in the MN Army National Guard. She is a member of the following committees: Political Subdivisions Committee (Vice Chair) and Education.

Jeff Boatman

Oklahoma Representative

Representative Boatman was first elected in 2018. His district covers Bixby, Broken Arrow, and Tulsa. In 2003 he co-founded Global Holdings, where he acts as the Chief Technology Officer. Global Holding, a financial services company, currently provides employment for over 150 Tulsans, and over the years has served millions of consumers nationwide. He graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2007 with a Master’s degree in Christian Counseling. He is a member of the following committees: Banking, Financial Services, and Pensions (Vice Chair), A and B Finance, Children, Youth and Family Services, and Government Efficiency.

Brandon Newton

South Carolina Representative

Representative Newton was first elected in 2016. His district includes Indian Land and parts of Lancaster, Fort Mill and Rock Hill. He is currently the youngest member of the South Carolina General Assembly. He holds an Associates Degree in Arts, Science, and Business from The University of South Carolina Lancaster; a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in History, and a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of South Carolina; as well as a Masters of Business Administration from Winthrop University. He is a member of the following committees: Labor Commerce and Industry, and Rules.

Michael Curcio

Tennessee Representative

Representative Curcio was first elected in 2016. His district covers Hickman and parts of Maury County and Dickson County. He serves on the Justice Reform Implementation Council, Tennessee Community Resource Board, Tennessee State Museum Board, Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council and co-chairs Governor Lee’s TN Volunteer Mentorship Initiative. His work experience includes serving as a staffer for the U.S. House of Representatives, a fundraiser for the Kennedy Center, working for Bill Haslam’s governor’s race and most recently a career with Benefits, Inc. an employee benefit advisory firm. He refurbished a 110-year-old pharmacy building in historic downtown Dickson in which he started and sold a successful restaurant. He is a member of the following committees: Judiciary (Chair), Naming, Designating, and Private Acts, Calendar and Rules, and Joint Fiscal Review.

Candy Noble

Texas Representative

Representative Noble was first elected in 2018. Her district covers Collin County. She is serving on the Texas House Republican Caucus Policy Committee as one of the three at-large members. She is the only freshman in the Texas House serving on the Board for the Texas Conservative Coalition. In 2016, she served as the Texas Electoral College Chair. In 2015, she was named by the Texas Federation of Republican Women as one of their Ten Most Outstanding Women. She is a member of the following committees: Ways and Means, Human Services, and General Investigating.

Nick Rush

Virginia Delegate

Delegate Rush was first elected in 2011. His district covers parts of Montgomery County, Pulaski County, and Floyd County. He is the Majority Whip. He served in the United States Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. At 23 years old, he was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors as the youngest member in the Board's history, where he served for 12 years and held both Chairman and Vice Chairman leadership positions. He is a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Privileges and Elections, Militia, Police and Public Safety, and Select Committee on School Safety.

Drew Stokesbary

Washington Representative

Representative Stokesbary was first elected in 2014. His district covers Auburn. He is a corporate and securities attorney. He is the principal at a Seattle-area boutique business law firm that provides legal counsel to startups and emerging companies. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University, where he studied economics and mathematics and graduated cum laude from Notre Dame Law School. He is a member of the following committees: Appropriations (Ranking Member) and Finance.

Jason Harshbarger

West Virginia Delegate

Delegate Harshbarger was first elected in 2016. His district serves Pleasants County and Ritchie County. He works for Dominion Energy Transmission in the Gas Storage Department. He was the only freshman delegate in 2017 to receive the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce award “Champion of Free Enterprise.” He was selected as a member of the elite Young Guns Class of 2018 by WV Executive Magazine. He is a member of the following committees: Natural Resources (Chair), Judiciary, Energy, Industry and Labor, and West Virginia’s Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus for 2019-2020 (Co-chair).

Tyler Vorpagel

Wisconsin Representative

Representative Vorpagel was first elected in 2014. His district covers Plymouth. He participated in the 2016 Emerging Leader Program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is the former district director for Congressman Tom Petri. He’s the National Conference of State Legistures State Chair. He is a Major in the Civil Air Patrol Legislative Squadron (Civil Air Patrol is the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force). He is a member of the following committees: Federalism and Interstate Relations (Chair), Children and Families, State Affairs, and Transportation.